Author Topic: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?  (Read 9040 times)

markeebee

Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« on: June 03, 2012, 02:04:35 PM »
I just landed a Vox AD120VT amp on eBay for a song.  Always hankered after one.  Yay!  Only problem is it doesn't have the foot controller board thing.  Wa!

The current Vox foot controllers don't interface with this amp, only the old ones do and they're becoming rare as a nun's bikini, and even more expensive.

After digging around a bit, it seems that the proprietary 'Voxbus' interface used by the amp and it's associated VC-4 and VC-12 controllers is in fact midi in disguise.  The amp has an RJ45 network cable outlet, but it can speak midi like this:

<--AMP RJ45 plug                      -->PC MIDI sockets
RxD_VD----------1---------------------4-----
RxD---------------2---------------------5-----MIDI Out
     ---------------3
     ---------------4
     ---------------5
     ---------------6
TxD--------------7---------------------5-----MIDI In
TxD_VD---------8---------------------4-----


So, I thought I might try to hack my own foot controller.  At this point I have to say that I have absolutely no idea what I'm saying or doing, ever, but especially so in regard to the nuts and bolts of midi.

I found something relating to the midi data generated by the VC-12 foot controller.  It looks a bit random.  It's on the spreadsheet 'Midi commands VC12 to amp' on this forum post:
http://foren.musik-meyer.net/korg-guitar/index.php?t=msg&goto=8404&rid=850#msg_8404

My initial thoughts are that I might buy and try to program a Behringer FCB1010 midi foot controller, using the UnO eprom and Ripwerx software, referenced here: http://ossandust.be/files/FCB_UnO_v1_0_2_UserGuide.pdf

Thing is, I don't even know if that's possible.  It's beyond my realm of experience and knowledge.  I'm very happy to get stuck in and try to make it happen, but I wonder if any of you clever kids might be able to have a quick looksee at those documents, and let me know if it seems feasible, or if I'm totally going the wrong way.  It might save me a lot of time, cash and pain.

If that doesn't float, I was thinking of using the Highly Liquid controller PCB thang http://store.highlyliquid.com/collections/midi-controllers/products/midi-cpu,  or this floorboard design http://www.ucapps.de/floorboard.html.  

Would there be any better ways, bearing in mind that I don't think I have enough time to invest in learning how to dance arduino or whatever??

Thanks for your time and help!!


EDIT
Forgot to say.....if you're good enough to ever reply, please could you assume that I know absolutely nothing about this project.  You won't be far wrong.  Maybe use language like you were explaining something to a five year old.  Not far wrong there, either.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 02:08:25 PM by markeebee »

Jdansti

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2012, 04:00:33 PM »
I use an FCB1010 to control a multiFX and I like it a lot. The only thing is that programming it is not straightforward.  I use the example in this link to help me program it, but it requires a real tap dance to do the job. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Behringer_FCB1010_MIDI_Pedal

You'll have to figure out the midi commands for each parameter you want to control on the amp.  I looked at the link you provided but Ich verstehe nicht die deutsche Sprache.

The programming is all done on the amp instead of the foot controller.   This is where we get into the blind leading the blind. Since the midi command data is not published, my first approach would be to use a program like Midiox (free at http://www.midiox.com/) to "read" the midi data from the amp.  In other words, connect your amp to your computer (how? I don't know yet) and change parameters on the amp while recording the midi data on your computer.  You'll have to take notes to document the midi data for each change. Take that data and generate a table of the data.  From there, you'll need to program the FCB1010 to map each desired command to a foot switch.

As I write this I see that this is backwards from the normal way we use midi controllers. I would recommend that you talk directly to Berhringer or someone very knowledgable to see if this would work before you spend money on the FCB1010.

Another option is to spend more for a Vox controller:  http://www.gearnuts.com/store/detail/VC12SV.
EDIT: I just saw where you say that the current foot controllers won't work. An option would be to set up a tickler for eBay to email you if the right one comes along.

Also, you may already have it, but here's a link to the AD120VT manual:  http://www.voxshowroom.com/ct/manuals/Blue%20VT_manual.pdf.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2012, 04:04:46 PM by Jdansti »
R.G. Keene: EXPECT there to be errors, and defeat them...

markeebee

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2012, 05:08:40 PM »
Thanks John.

I'm not really looking to program the amp as such, instead I want to program the behringer footswitch to mimic the old Vox footswitch.

The second link in my post is for a system that enables you to program the footswitch using your computer rather than by a bunch of multiple pedal presses.

The first link points to a spreadsheet that shows the command data generated by the Vox footswitch.  I guess my question is "do you think the programability of the behringer can go deep enough to emulate the vox footswitch?".  Or something.

Appreciate your help, cheers mate.

Jdansti

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2012, 10:16:04 PM »
Sorry-I didn't see the spreadsheet link on the German site.   I'm having trouble downloading it, but I'll take a look at it.  

Assuming the spreadsheet tells you what midi data the amp is expecting from the controller, it should be a simple thing to assign the proper commands to each foot switch on the FCB1010 either with the software you mentioned or by the tap dance method. I'll let you know after I have a look at the spreadsheet.

After looking over the manual for the amp, it appears to be very similar to my Sony HR-GP5 multiFX. You use the foot pedal to select between preset combinations of effects or user programmed settings. So the foot pedals select a given bank and program in the amp. Does that sound right?
R.G. Keene: EXPECT there to be errors, and defeat them...

Jdansti

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2012, 02:14:01 AM »
Ok- I got the spreadsheet on my PC  (I was using the iPhone earlier - no bueno).  I don't understand how to convert the hex data to midi data.  Maybe you just do a hex to decimal conversion.  We should get one of the digital gurus to look at the spreadsheet.

I also looked at the VC-12 manual (http://www.valvetronix.net/docs/VC12_EFG2.pdf).  It appears that midi program change numbers 1-128 might correspond to to memory locations 1-128 in the amp.  From the manual:
Storing Amp Program Data in the VC-12
You can store your Valvetronix amp’s programs in the VC-12’s four memories. Each memory can store 32 programs, which means you can store 128 programs in total (32 x 4 = 128).


If the FCB1010 only has to send a program change number for each foot pedal switch to change between programs (presets), that would be a piece of cake.  However, my concern is that the VC-12 instructions tell you to send data from the amp to the VC-12.  So the two pieces of equipment have to be able to talk to each other (hand shake) and the VC-12 actually stores data sent to it from the amp.  I don't know what this data is or whether the FCB1010 could receive, store, and do anything with the data. It could be that the amp is just programming the VC-12 in a similar fashion as you would manually program the FCB1010.

Here's an example of how I use the FCB1010:  I want to assign multiple presets in my multiFX to certain foot switches on the FCB1010.  First I go to a preset on the multiFX and assign a midi program change number from 1-128.  Then I go to the FCB1010, select a pedal that I want to correspond to that preset, and assign the same midi program change number to that foot switch.  Now when I press the foot switch I just programmed, the preset turns on.

One option to see if the FCB1010 would work would be to borrow any generic midi controller and  program the pedals 1-5 to send program change numbers 1-5 and see if it controls programs 1-5 on the amp.

Another option would be to go to a local dealer that has the FCB1010 and ask them if you could return it if it doesn’t work.

Off to bed now.  Mañana.
R.G. Keene: EXPECT there to be errors, and defeat them...

markeebee

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2012, 03:25:41 AM »
Aw, thanks John, you're a diamond.

Good idea about using a generic conttoller to test the program changes.  I think I'll use Cubase to output the messages directly and see what happens.  I can easily try both hex and decimal that way, without having to mess around programming a controller.

If that looks promising I'll get an FCB off ebay and monkey with that.  If I can't get it to work I can sell it again and maybe not lose too much.

We have a couple of days public holiday over here, to 'celebrate' the queen's jubilee.  So I'm gunna collect the amp this afternoon and play with midi on Tuesday.  Mrs Bee will be thrilled.

Thanks again.  Sleep well sweetheart.


Jdansti

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2012, 10:36:49 AM »
What better way to honor the queen and spend time with Mrs. Bee.  ::) 

Great idea to use a DAW for testing.  BTW, that reminds me that some folks use the FCB1010 as a midi controller for their DAW.  With 10 banks and 10 pedals, you could easily use it for the amp and the DAW.
R.G. Keene: EXPECT there to be errors, and defeat them...

digi2t

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Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2012, 03:45:34 PM »
Just a thought...

Before you go and drop any dough on a foot controller, if you also use MIDIOX which is free.
If it works that way, then you can go on to the next step.

+1 on the UNO version of the FCB BTW. I use two FCB`s to run my rig. Programmed my own UNO chips, but I use Dixon`s interface for programming them. I like the GUI better. I`m more of a visual creature  :icon_mrgreen:.

+1 on the Highly Liquid stuff as well. Build my first MIDI switcher with their relay board. Excellent products.

Cheers,
Dino
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Jdansti

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2012, 03:55:09 PM »
Just a thought...

Before you go and drop any dough on a foot controller, if you also use MIDIOX which is free.
If it works that way, then you can go on to the next step.

+1 on the UNO version of the FCB BTW. I use two FCB`s to run my rig. Programmed my own UNO chips, but I use Dixon`s interface for programming them. I like the GUI better. I`m more of a visual creature  :icon_mrgreen:.

+1 on the Highly Liquid stuff as well. Build my first MIDI switcher with their relay board. Excellent products.

Cheers,
Dino

If I may be permitted a temporary hijack, I am a complete digital noob and would like to know how you would write a program to an UNO chip. Is it an EPROM and you use an EPROM burner?
R.G. Keene: EXPECT there to be errors, and defeat them...

markeebee

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2012, 04:41:46 PM »
^ Time for the blind to lead the blind again.......

The UnO firmware fixes a few bugs in the Behringer, and give you a bit more flexibility and control.

You can download the code free and burn it onto an EPROM, or you can buy a pre-written chip from the guy who wrote the code here:
http://www.ossandust.be/


Once you've swapped the original chip for the UnO one, you can program the FCB1010 from your PC using Ripwerx:
http://www.voes.be/fcb1010/pdf/fcb1010%20programming%20with%20ripwerx%20software.pdf

Or you can use Ed Dixon's interface instead of Ripwerx.  I didn't know about this until Dino mentioned it.  Looks good:
http://www.mtnsys.com/?path=faq-fcb/PCEditorBeta.htm%3f


I think that's right  :icon_wink:   

Jdansti

Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2012, 04:54:08 PM »
Aha!  Thank you for the explanation.  I'll have to look into this. I haven't noticed any bugs, but I'd like to have the latest firmware.  It would also be nice to not have to do the River Dance when I want to assign a pedal.  ;)
R.G. Keene: EXPECT there to be errors, and defeat them...

digi2t

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Re: Midi foot controller....nudge in right direction please?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2012, 10:50:10 PM »
I downloaded the UNO code, and have a chip burner, so I burned my own chips.

The chip burner was totally worth it. I also upgraded my SGX2000, X-15 Ultrafoot, and my XP-300 conversion.

100$ well spent IMHO.
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